The Congress won 157 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir urban local body polls, results for which were declared on Saturday. The Bharatiya Janata Party won 100 seats, and independents 178, ANI reported.
The Congress appealed to all “secular-minded” individuals to form an alliance with the party. “I would appeal all the winning candidates who have secular ideology and believe in this mission of not having a communal-backed committee or mayor at least in Srinagar,” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said according to PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their support to the BJP. “I assure the people of the state that the party will work hard to fulfil the aspirations of the state’s youth and serve the state with utmost diligence” he tweeted. Modi also thanked the “entire team” of the Jammu and Kashmir BJP for their “stupendous efforts”, and for reaching out to “every section of society”.
But National Panthers Party leader Harsh Dev Singh told ANI that the BJP’s victory in Jammu was “manipulated”. “There has been massive rigging and the voting machines were doctored,” he claimed. “We made several complaints with the election authorities on this issue but no cognizance was taken.”
The BJP won 43 seats in the 75-member Jammu Municipal Corporation, while the Congress bagged 14 seats. Independent candidates won 18 seats.
In the Kishtwar Municipal Committee, independent candidates won 10 seats, the Congress two and the BJP one. In the seven-member Batote Municipal Committee in Ramban, the BJP won four seats, independents two and the Congress one. In Kathua district’s Basohli, the BJP won five seats, the Congress and independents four each.
In Sunderbani Municipal Committee of Rajouri district, the BJP won 10 seats and independents three. As many as six independent candidates and one Congress candidate won in the Kalakote Municipal Committee. In the 13-member Reasi Municipal Committee, six BJP candidates, five independents and two Congress candidates won, PTI reported.
The Congress had won 70 out of the 208 wards that went to the polls in Kashmir, and independent candidates won 53 by the afternoon. The BJP won 53 out of 132 wards in the four districts of South Kashmir – Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, PTI reported. This gives it control of at least four of the 20 civic bodies in the four districts.
BJP candidates won in 12 wards in Shopian unopposed. Five wards in the district did not have any nominations.
In Kulgam’s Devsar municipal committee, the party won all the eight seats. In Anantnag’s Qazigund Municipal Committee, the BJP is ahead in four of the seven wards. The other three wards had no candidates.
In Pahalgam municipal committee in Anantnag, the party won seven of the 13 seats uncontested while there were no candidates for the remaining six seats.
The Congress won all seven wards in Banihal Municipal Committee, according to Kashmir Reader. The party won 12 out of 17 wards in Bandipora Municipal Committee while the Bharatiya Janata Party won three wards, and an independent candidate won one. One ward was uncontested.
The Congress won 14 out of 17 seats in Dooru Municipal Committee while the BJP bagged two seats. One seat remained vacant. The party also won six of eight seats in Kokernag municipal committee and three in Yaripora. The remaining three seats were vacant as there were no candidates.
Congress won the Budgam municipal committee securing six seats and the BJP won four. Independent candidates secured six wards in Baramulla district’s Sumbal and the Congress won the remaining five wards.
BJP candidate Bashir Ahmad Mir won ward 74 of Srinagar Municipal Corporation by securing eight out of nine votes, reported Greater Kashmir. Only nine votes were cast in the Shankarapora ward, of which Mir secured seven.
However the party failed to open its account in Ladakh. The Congress won all 13 seats in the Leh municipal committee, PTI reported. It also won in five wards in Kargil district.
The elections were held in four phases on October 8, 10, 13 and 16 covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh. A total of 3,372 nominations were filed for 1,145 wards. Of these wards, counting will take place only for about 700 wards, reported Kashmir Reader. The remaining wards either received no nomination or the candidates were elected unopposed.
Of the 598 wards in Kashmir, 231 candidates were elected unopposed while there were no candidates in 181 wards.
The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party boycotted the polls over the lack of clarity on Article 35A of the Constitution. Two National Conference workers were shot dead in Srinagar two days ahead of the polling for first phase of elections.
High polling percentages were recorded in Jammu and Ladakh regions. But in the Kashmir Valley, the four phases saw turnouts of 8.2%, 3.3%, 3.49% and 4%, respectively. The overall voting percentage for these polls in the state stood at 35.1%. The polls were held after 13 years.